Vail Valley had a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend |

Vail Valley had a busy Fourth of July holiday weekend

There were socially-distanced lines at many Vail Valley businesses, and restaurant decks were popular

Larry Leith, owner of Yeti's Grind in Vail, said people have been mostly accepting of a mandate to wear masks indoors.

It was hard to rent a bicycle over the Fourth of July weekend. That’s good news.

“We were slammed this weekend; that’s a good thing, but it was stressful,” Andy Dunlap of Christie Sports said. “It was nice to see everyone back in town.”

Actually, “everyone” wasn’t back for the holiday weekend. There were no cars parked Saturday on Vail’s frontage roads, and the town’s parking structures didn’t fill. Still, there were people in town.

Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said his shops in Avon, Vail and Beaver Creek were all busy for the weekend. Venture Sports has fewer bikes available this summer. Still, demand was high. Venture Sports was out of available bikes fairly early in the morning, so people there called other shops around the valley.

“Everybody was out of bikes by like 10 a.m.,” Brumbaugh said.

Outdoor recreation was popular, given social distancing requirements, but other businesses were busy, too.

At the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail, director Jen Mason said that facility saw people at a “manageable” level.

“It wasn’t super busy, but it wasn’t super quiet,” Mason said adding that she believed a number of people still aren’t comfortable with hanging out in indoor public places.

Al fresco is all right

That seemed to be the case at Jim Pavelich’s restaurants in Vail and Avon. Pavelich said “business was good” at Avon’s Northside Coffee, Pavelici’s Pizza, Southside Benderz and Northside Grab n’ Go in Vail. But, he added, the patio at Southside Benderz has been “very popular.”

Patio dining has also been popular at Vista at Arrowhead. There, Sue TerBush said the deck there hosted hundreds of people for both lunch and dinner over the holiday weekend.

Many of those diners are club members of the country club there.

At Yeti’s Grind at Solaris in Vail Village, owner Larry Leith said the coffee shop was busy throughout the weekend. Yeti’s has social distancing marks on the floor out into the hallway, and Leith said the line was out the door for much of the weekend.

That brisk business seems to be the norm.

Vail Chamber & Business Association Director Alison Wadey said she’s heard a number of reports of restaurants and shops having a busy weekend.

“From a business standpoint, I’m pleasantly surprised,” she said.

Got mask?

Wadey said she heard from a number of guests who came to Vail expecting to be free of mask-wearing requirements. That changed last week, when Eagle County’s latest public health order required people to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces.

Wadey said when she told most guests about the new requirement, the general reaction was “oh well.”

Wadey said she recommended that businesses post signs outside that gave a nod to the old “Got Milk?” ad campaign, changing the phrase to “Got Mask?”

Leith has posted just such a sign outside Yeti’s. The requirement has been met mostly with good humor, at least at Yeti’s, Leith said.

Leith, who’s a supporter of the mask requirement, acknowledged that “the mask thing can get pretty testy.” But being asked and thanked for masking up seemed to sit well with Yeti’s customers.

“People were really good about it,” Leith said.

A heavy rainstorm Saturday pushed a lot of people under cover, at least temporarily smashing social-distancing rules. Other than that, though, Leith said social distancing requirements worked “pretty well” much of the time.

With a number of guests comes a number of different comfort levels for being out in public.

Pavelich has seen this in his customers, of course.

“Some people are being cautious, and others can’t wait to get out and have fun,” Pavelich said. “I think everything worked out as well as it could (over the holiday), but the rest of the summer is unknown.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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